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Astra Model 900

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The Astra 900 was a pistol developed to take advantage of a large Chinese demand for semiauto pistols with shoulder stocks, following on the massive sales of the Mauser C96 “Broomhandle” in that country. In the 1920s and 30s, civil war in China drove a huge market in arms, but international treaty had prohibited […]

Scoped C96 Conehammer Carbine

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This scoped C96 carbine is serial number 12 of the original run of just 30 large-ring C96 carbines. It has the long barrel and detachable stock (in place of the standard pistol grip) of the C96 carbine. The most obvious feature, however, is the telescopic sight mounted on the piece. This was not installed […]

Vietnamese Crude 1911 Copy

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This is an example of a craft-made pistol captured in Vietnam and brought back to the US. While many Vietnamese fighters were supplied with good-quality weapons from other nations (primarily Chinese-made AK and SKS rifles), weapons are virtually never in sufficient supply for guerrilla-type forces and that forces improvisation. In this case, some Vietnamese […]

Benke-Thiemann Folding Luger Holster

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While most major pistols made before the 1930s had some type of shoulder stock available as an option, the Luger had much more variety of stocks than most others. In addition to the several types of wooden stocks made on military contract, there were also several commercial types of folding stocks made. One of […]

RIA: Odd Iver Johnson Prototype .32s (Video)

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These unique and unmarked prototype .32 ACP pistols are apparently Iver Johnson prototypes – and I can’t find any information on them beyond that description from their consignor. One is a simpler example in the white, and the other is a more developed example with both a manual safety and an unusual style of […]

RIA: Beretta Model 1931 (Video)

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With the development of the Model 1931, Beretta had nearly arrived at the first really popular pistol (the 1934/5). The 1931 was the result of taking the exposed-hammer 1923 design, shrinking the frame down to a more compact size and changing the caliber to .32 ACP (7.65mm Browning). This smaller cartridge reduced the need […]

RIA: Luger 1902 Carbine (Video)

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With the advent of successful self-loading pistols, one of the additional markets that many companies tried to appeal to was the compact carbine. Self-loading rifles in proper rifle cartridges would not be developed as quickly as the pistols because their much greater chamber pressures represented a more difficult engineering problem. However by simply attaching […]

RIA: Walther Model 6 (Video)

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Wather introduced its first pistol in 1908, creatively named the Model 1. With the outbreak of World War One, the company was offering the Model 4 pistol for military use. This was a .32 ACP simple blowback action, and it proved quite popular and successful. However, the German military was primarily interested in 9x19mm […]

RIA: Müller 1895 Curved Recoil Pistol (Video)

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The model 1895 Müller automatic pistol is an interesting and unusual design, despite being a simple blowback action. Where most pistols have a bolt or slide that moved directly rearward, the Müller pushes the bolt in a semicircular arc into its grip. This is similar to the Swedish Hamilton trials pistol that would come […]

RIA: Beretta Model 1923

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Beretta offered its first semiautomatic pistols during World War One, with the Model 1915 chambered in 9mm Glisenti. This was quickly supplemented by the 1915/17 scaled down to the .32ACP cartridge, which was both handier to carry and less expensive to make. After the end of the war, Beretta looked to deign a more […]